by Gomathi Rajam
Baladhanesshwar is a prospect who is making moves. He has played very well recently during the Khelo India Youth Games, played a vital role in helping Tamil Nadu U-21 basketball team lifting the Gold and putting himself on the map.
He is an athletic point guard from Loyola College and also playing for the current Tamil Nadu state basketball team. He can score, while efficiently guiding an offense. We caught up with Baladhanesshwar to talk about his game, this season, and more.
Tell us a little bit about your background. And how you developed a passion for basketball?
Unlike many sportspersons who take up sports due to inbred passion I started to develop a liking for the game because of my father. He is a politician at present but as a kid he aspired to become a sportsman but the financial conditions of his family did not permit him to take it up. I was a very nimble kid and he suggested me to take up sports and so I took up Basketball, when I look back I realize I could not have made a better choice.
Do you wish to take up basketball as a career? Since India does not have any prominent names in the field of Basketball as it does in sports like, say, cricket or hockey, what made you choose basketball?
Yeah, I already took basketball as my career, though cricket is a much popular sport, in my school basketball is very popular and so I chose basketball.
Who is your biggest supporter when it comes to basketball and how has your family/college played a role in your basketball career?
My father, family, friends, seniors and last but never the least my coaches are my biggest supporters, each of my coaches has been and has offered valuable experience. And yeah my college played one of main role in my basketball career.
What position do you play on the team? What are some challenges that you have faced?
Point guard, there are many challenges so difficult to tell this short time.
How did you think you did this year?
I feel I am going up the ladder and comparatively I feel I have done way better than last year, I would like to carry on the same pace and it gives me a positive and a confident feeling.
What was the most important game you played?
I see all the games as equal as each and every game is special in a unique way. I start each game with the same energy and proceed with the same passion and it would be unfair to choose one.
Do you have a favorite college or NBA player that you like to watch?
Kobe Bryant is my favorite player; he has been my favorite ever since I started following basketball.
How well does the college facilitate the sport? Are you satisfied with the efforts of the college?
Our college provides us good support and suffices our primary needs.
Who would you say is the best player you’ve ever played against?
Aravindh Anadhurai is the best player I’ve played against. He is very competitive, it makes me push myself and I really enjoy it.
What’s been the biggest moment of your college career so far?
Winning the Bertram in my first year is the biggest moment of my college career.
When training what are some things that you do currently that are keys to your success?
Earlier, I used to work on my fitness but just recently I have started gym training to enhance my strength limits. I hope it enhances my performance.
What is it like being champion of U-21 Khelo India? How did you guys celebrate it after the final against Punjab?
We played as a team, each of us contributed to this victory and it is a part of all the 12 players and the coaches. All of us were extremely happy and whooped out of delight.
What are a few goals that the team (both college and TN team) has set this year? What about personal goals you hope to achieve?
This year we aimed at winning gold in the Senior Nationals and Khelo India, unfortunately we could not make it and ended up with a bronze. Anyhow, I am glad we retorted and performed well throughout the Khelo India Youth Games and won Gold.
Do you have any pre-game rituals that help you mentally?
Hahaha, yeah I do have a set of superstitious beliefs, though some people find it funny I always do follow them. I cannot start a match prior making contact with the floor, ball and my shoes in an informal manner.
What is one piece of advice that has helped you get through the challenges you have faced?
One of the many things I have learnt though my personal experience is the significance of staying focused. Be it any sport, focus and mental fitness is as equal as physical fitness.
How do you think that the team has done in 2018? What’s your hope for 2019?
We have done pretty well in 2018 and I wish and hope to do better in the upcoming tournaments in 2019.
3 pointer or dunk? 3pointer
What’s the song you listen nowadays mostly? Marana Mass, Petta movie
Postgame meal: Mostly something in Veg
Favorite basketball movie: Coach Carter
And finally…What’s your favourite sneaker? Kobe and Air Jordan
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